One of the first details that directors usually consider when shooting a project, is which camera is the best for the production. The second item that typically follows camera choice but equally as important is lighting setup. No matter how cool your content or how crazy your camera, if your scene isn’t lit well, your end product won’t be nearly as compelling. These are few of the light types we own and use.
Fresnels (pronounced Fre-nell) are very common lights to find on film & video sets of every budget. They are somewhat inexpensive for the amount of light they output, but one of the biggest downsides to using them is they get extremely hot, very quickly. You will definitely need a pair of heat resistant gloves to handle them or you will almost definitely get burned. Fresnels most commonly output a tungston (yellowish) colored light so it blends well with incandescent bulbs found in most homes and gives your subject a nice warm tone.
Fluorescent lighting comes in multiple variations, but one of the more popular albeit more expensive utilize long fluorescent tubes which provide nice, soft, diffused light. This type of lighting is great for faces if you do not have a softbox light setup and they run very cool in comparison to fresnels or HMI lights.
LED lights have been rapidly gaining popularity with the increase of lower cost models from US and international manufacturers. For a long while Litepanels was the only game in town and an expensive one at that. You will still see the infamous 1×1 flood light on most major TV and film sets. They travel well, they radiate no heat and they require very little power which makes them a great alternative to other lights. Because LED is a much less powerful light source you won’t see them replacing large HMIs or Fresnels just yet, but they are a great choice for many applications.
Unlike the other items listed above, a soft box is not a light source, it is a device used in conjunction with a light. It’s primary purpose to diffuse the light output and create a much softer, more appealing light. Commonly used when lighting people give their skin a nice even tone.
Like a soft box, barndoors are an accessory to your light system rather than an actual light. Barndoors help to shape your light and direct it towards a particular area preventing it from disbursing outward reducing light falloff. Think of how a spot light is used to highlight a specific actor on stage, similarly, barndoors allow you to focus a naturally widespread light to be narrow and directional.
Berad Studio doesn’t own any HMI lights and haven’t really felt the need to invest in any yet, but they are also an industry standard for high output, bright, white, lights.